As part of its concerted war on terror, the U.S. government under both presidents Bush and Obama directed most national security resources toward terrorism committed by Muslims, while the likes of Jared Lee Loughner and Joseph Stack attacked undetected. Frightening images of Muslim terrorists persuaded the American public that spending billions of dollars on occupying Iraq and Afghanistan was necessary despite burgeoning economic ills at home.
Compromising our civil liberties also became an acceptable sacrifice to protect us from Osama bin Laden’s murderous gang. Body scan machines electronically strip search us at nearly every airport. Fusion centers across the country gather intelligence on average Americans to deposit into massive databases monitored by the government. Tens of thousands of warrantless national security letters are issued every year to obtain information about our financial and political lives absent evidence of criminal activity. And police departments have shifted resources from necessary crime-fighting to mapping communities based on their religious faiths and ethnic origins under the auspices of protecting national security.
There remain many questions about whether such infringements on our civil liberties at home led to the weakening of al-Qaida abroad and the eventual elimination of Osama bin Laden. But one thing is clear. The war on terror was a remarkable success in vilifying more than 6 million people in America of various ethnic, racial and socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently reported a disproportionately high incidence of religious discrimination against Muslim employees compared to their percentage of the population. Some Muslim women donning head scarves are not only excluded from employment but also physically assaulted on account of their faith. Within a three-month period at the end of 2010, five Muslim women in Staten Island, N.Y., Seattle, Wash., and Columbus, Ohio, were physically attacked while called terrorists. Even constructing a house of worship is perceived by a significant number of Americans as an illicit and anti-American activity that should be prohibited by law.
School bullying against Muslim students is also on the rise, with the most recent occurring the day after Osama bin Laden was killed when a teacher at Clear Brook High School in Friendswood humiliated a Muslim female student by stating, “I bet you are grieving … about your uncle’s death.” A few days later three Muslim men were kicked off of commercial flights because the pilot felt uncomfortable with their Islamic garb and beards. Ironically, the men were headed to a conference in North Carolina addressing the rise of anti-Muslim bigotry in America.
While one hopes the death of Osama bin Laden and the significant weakening of al-Qaida will reverse these trends, the plane evictions and verbal assault of the Houston-area student show otherwise. It will likely take a concerted effort by all Americans to dismantle the deeply entrenched stereotypes and turn a new page. One where we no longer impute the criminality of Osama bin Laden, dead or alive, onto the majority of law-abiding Muslims in America. When civil liberties of all Americans are not so easily abandoned based on fear of a few terrorists holed up somewhere across the world.
Dismantling these stereotypes is more than simply pursuing a politically correct post-racial agenda. Nor are the benefits limited to Muslims in America. Debunking these stereotypes denies those seeking to take away Americans’ civil liberties an important tool. No longer can they rely on false stereotypes of Muslims to reauthorize the Patriot Act, build more spy centers and eviscerate our privacy.
Now that Osama bin Laden lies dead at the bottom of the sea, hopefully we can finally put to rest the stereotypes and get to work on taking back our rights.
The Obama administration’s legal team is split over how much latitude the United States has to kill Islamist militants in Yemen and Somalia, a question that could define the limits of the war against Al Qaeda and its allies, according to administration and Congressional officials.
The debate, according to officials familiar with the deliberations, centers on whether the United States may take aim at only a handful of high-level leaders of militant groups who are personally linked to plots to attack the United States or whether it may also attack the thousands of low-level foot soldiers focused on parochial concerns: controlling the essentially ungoverned lands near the Gulf of Aden, which separates the countries.
The dispute over limits on the use of lethal force in the region — whether from drone strikes, cruise missiles or commando raids — has divided the State Department and the Pentagon for months, although to date it remains a merely theoretical disagreement. Current administration policy is to attack only “high-value individuals” in the region, as it has tried to do about a dozen times.
But the unresolved question is whether the administration can escalate attacks if it wants to against rank-and-file members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, based in Yemen, and the Somalia-based Shabab. The answer could lay the groundwork for a shift in the fight against terrorists as the original Al Qaeda, operating out of Afghanistan and Pakistan, grows weaker. That organization has been crippled by the killing of Osama bin Laden and by a fierce campaign of drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where the legal authority to attack militants who are battling United States forces in adjoining Afghanistan is not disputed inside the administration.
One senior official played down the disagreement on Thursday, characterizing it as a difference in policy emphasis, not legal views. Defense Department lawyers are trying to maintain maximum theoretical flexibility, while State Department lawyers are trying to reach out to European allies who think that there is no armed conflict, for legal purposes, outside of Afghanistan, and that the United States has a right to take action elsewhere only in self-defense, the official said.
But other officials insisted that the administration lawyers disagreed on the underlying legal authority of the United States to carry out such strikes.
Robert Chesney, a law professor at the University of Texas at Austin who specializes in the laws of war, said the dispute reflected widespread disagreement about how to apply rules written for traditional wars to a conflict against a splintered network of terrorists — and fears that it could lead to an unending and unconstrained “global” war.
“It’s a tangled mess because the law is unsettled,” Professor Chesney said. “Do the rules vary from location to location? Does the armed conflict exist only in the current combat zone, such as Afghanistan, or does it follow wherever participants may go? Who counts as a party to the conflict? There’s a lot at stake in these debates.”
Counterterrorism officials have portrayed Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula — which was responsible for the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on Dec. 25, 2009 — as an affiliate of Al Qaeda that may be more dangerous now than the remnants of the original group. Such officials have also expressed worry about the Shabab, though that group is generally more focused on local issues and has not been accused of attacking the United States.
In Pakistan, the United States has struck at Al Qaeda in part through “signature” strikes — those that are aimed at killing clusters of people whose identities are not known, but who are deemed likely members of a militant group based on patterns like training in terrorist camps. The dispute over targeting could affect whether that tactic might someday be used in Yemen and Somalia, too.
The Defense Department’s general counsel, Jeh C. Johnson, has argued that the United States could significantly widen its targeting, officials said. His view, they explained, is that if a group has aligned itself with Al Qaeda against Americans, the United States can take aim at any of its combatants, especially in a country that is unable or unwilling to suppress them.
The State Department’s top lawyer, Harold H. Koh, has agreed that the armed conflict with Al Qaeda is not limited to the battlefield theater of Afghanistan and adjoining parts of Pakistan. But, officials say, he has also contended that international law imposes additional constraints on the use of force elsewhere. To kill people elsewhere, he has said, the United States must be able to justify the act as necessary for its self-defense — meaning it should focus only on individuals plotting to attack the United States.
The fate of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, hangs heavily over the targeting debate, officials said. In several habeas corpus lawsuits, judges have approved the detention of Qaeda suspects who were captured far from the Afghan battlefield, as well as detainees who were deemed members of a force that was merely “associated” with Al Qaeda. One part of the dispute is the extent to which rulings about detention are relevant to the targeting law.
Congress, too, may influence the outcome of the debate. It is considering, as part of a pending defense bill, a new authorization to use military force against Al Qaeda and its associates. A version of the provision proposed by the House Armed Forces Committee would establish an expansive standard for the categories of groups that the United States may single out for military action, potentially making it easier for the United States to kill large numbers of low-level militants in places like Somalia.
In an interview, Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said that he supported the House version and that he would go further. He said he would offer an amendment that would explicitly authorize the use of force against a list of specific groups including the Shabab, as well as set up a mechanism to add further groups to the list if they take certain “overt acts.”
“This is a worldwide conflict without borders,” Mr. Graham argued. “Restricting the definition of the battlefield and restricting the definition of the enemy allows the enemy to regenerate and doesn’t deter people who are on the fence.”
On Saturday, newspapers throughout the world and the TV channels published the news of the bomb blast and firing later. In the next captions of the news, they made Al-Qaida and the Islamic extremists responsible for these acts. It was very easy to link the terrorist activity to the Muslims and the Islamic terrorists. First of all, it was Friday, secondly it was a well developed European country. According to the Universal fashion, there was every material available to link such an act of violence with the Muslims. After the preliminary analysis, it was revealed that Mr. Will Mc Cants Security Advisor of the State Dept. of USA was responsible for the efforts made by the international news agencies to link Muslims with the bomb blast of Norway. He was the man associated earlier with the state Dept. for dealing with terrorism. He made Muslims responsible without testifying or without waiting for further details. America, depending upon such advisors has initiated war against terrorism in many countries for the past ten years.
This is the section of people which looks at the Muslims with suspicion and only their reviews are broadcast which pollute the minds of the people all over the world.
On Sunday, the 24th July 2011, Urdu media clarified that for these terrorist activities, “Muslim terrorists” are not responsible but it is the activity of a “Christian Terrorist”. I had used the term “Christian terrorism” in the caption of one of my article published in the year 2007, entitled to “can the Muslim be a terrorist and not a Christian?”
On 17th April 2007 a gunner killed in the firing at Virginia Technological University in which 32 persons were killed. This news was also published by international news agencies with great importance. The point at which I would like to draw the attention of the readers is that the gunner who opened fire at Virginia University was an orthodox Christian. At the time of reporting this news, nowhere the religion of this man was mentioned. Had he been a Muslim, his religion would have been mentioned especially that a Muslim terrorist has killed 32 person. I am convinced that the forces hostile to Islam have become so handicapped that they are not able to identify the danger which is going to cause damage to them.
In America and Europe the hoax of Muslim terrorism was propagated vehemently such that all those in whose names “Mohammed” was found and those who had grown beards on their faces and the ladies who had covered their bodies with the veils were presumed to be bosing a great danger to their security. Separate ques were arranged for the Muslims at the immigration counters at the airports. Laws were enacted to detain the Muslims at any time and to arrest them immediately on some pretext or the other. Today, the world has witnessed that the gunner who killed more than 90 innocent persons was not a Muslim but a Christian.
The extremist Christian terrorist whom the Norway police was forced to arrest did not hide his aims. The terrorist Anders Behring Breivik prepared a detailed manifesto of his anti-Muslim activities spreading over nearly 1,500 pages which he displayed on the internet. But the security agencies have concentrated all their resources only on the Muslims. Whatever the Non-Muslims write or do, it was deemed to be harmless. This is what the news agencies of Norway have done. The state of affairs of our security agencies is almost the same. Whether it is Sadhavi Pragya Singh Thakur or Swamy Aseemanand they were not exposed on the radars of our security agencies until they finished their workds.
It is an incident of the third week of July 2011. Hyderabad city police found out the shifting of the explosive material weighting two quintals. Incidentally, both the persons who transported the explosive material were the Non-Muslims, otherwise our media persons and the security agencies would have put the captions like “two Muslims are arrested while transporting two quintals of explosive material”. Since the person who were caught were the Non-Muslims, the news caption was simply “two persons were arrested while transporting explosive material”. If Muslims are involved in any unpleasant incident, it is deemed obligatory to mention their religion but if the same thing is done by the Non-Muslims, it becomes unnecessary to mention their religion. Why is it so?
Even if the Muslims are arrested under the charges of terrorism, the world media and the American newspapers would create a panic about terrorism. When the terrorist act of Norway was exposed, the reaction of the American newspapers was very interesting. Ms. Yasmeen Jameel, transmitted the editorial of the “Daily News” from Washington on the Urdu website of the “Voice of America”. While dealing with the terrorist incident of Norway, the editorial raised a natural question that why have such incidents taken place in a peaceful country like Norway which is the seat of Nobel prize for peace.
The editorial further writes that the police has arrested a 32 year old man whose terrorist activity is suspected to be linked with the rightist extremism. What kind of journalism is this? A Christian youth is openly declaring that he wants to eradicate Muslims from Europe. He has presented his manifesto containing 1,500 pages. Even after this, the man does not seem to be a terrorist and the newspaper writes that his terrorism resembles the violent activities of the rightist extremists. It means that the American newspaper avoids writing “terrorist” to Anders and says that he is performing activities like a terrorist.
This was the attitude of the hostile Islamicists abroad. If we review the position in our country can we call our attitude correct? Till very recently, we used to protest to link terrorism with religion and we never used to tired of saying that the terrorism has no religion. How can then we mention the religion of the Non-Muslim who is involved in terrorist activities.
It is a fact that the terrorist is neither a Muslim nor a Hindu or a Christian. The religion of the Terrorist is terrorism. It is, therefore, obligatory for the media to get rid of its so-called journalist bias (Journalistic terrorism) and decide that form today onwards, whosoever is involved in terrorist actitivites, he will be called only the follower of terrorism. Even if his religious identity is to be mentioned, it will be mentioned only terrorism. Since a person who resorts to terrorism, gives up the teachings of his religion and adopts terrorism. He will be identified would be as a terrorist alone and his religion will be terrorism.
Mr. Sadanand Patwardhan in one of his articles wrote that out of the 29 incidents of terrorism in 2009 only one was attributed to the Muslims. In the year 2008, there were 525 incidences of terrorism and not a single incident was attributed to the Muslims. But it is seen that not only investigating agencies but even the media agencies also resort to a biased and narrow-minded view towards the Muslims.
There is only one solution to the problem of journalistic terrorism. It is that the Muslims should come forward in the filed of journalism and work in it. If a Christian youth indulges in a terrorist act, we can satisfy ourselves by writing him a Christian terrorist, but this is not the solution to the problem. In the same way for a Hindu who resorts to terrorism, if we write Hindu terrorism, that is not going to solve our problem.
We must congratulate the Norway police that they have arrested Anders alive. Had he become the target of the Police bullets, we don’t know the media would have tried its level best to prove him a Muslim terrorist. It is a fact that the savour is greater than the killer. Are we able to comprehend the message given by the greatest entity called Allah – The Almighty who gives this message in the present circumstances? If not, we will also be turned down like a monthly page of a certain calendar which has passed.